MBB Minute: Battle for Positioning Continues

Jake Thomas' career-high 18 points powered Marquette to Saturday's win over Xavier.

Jake Thomas' career-high 18 points powered Marquette to Saturday's win over Xavier.

Feb. 16, 2014

The jostling to stay at the top end of the middle of the BIG EAST standings continued Saturday with Marquette and Providence picking up home victories.

Marquette's 81-72 win over Xavier lifted the Golden Eagles into a third-place tie with Xavier at 7-5. Guard Jake Thomas hit six 3-pointers en route to a career-high 18 points. Xavier was hurt by a season-high 19 turnovers. Justin Martin scored a game-high 20 points for the Musketeers.

Providence placed six players in double figures in an 84-61 win against DePaul. The Friars improved to 7-6 in BIG EAST play. Bryce Cotton scored 22 points and dished six assists. The Friars made 10 of their first 11 shots from the field and led 49-26 at the break. DePaul got 18 points from Brandon Young.

FOX Sports 1 has both BIG EAST games Sunday. At 5 p.m. ET, Villanova plays at Creighton in a battle of the two teams at the top of the standings. The winner will sit in first place. The Wildcats are 10-1 in league play with the only loss coming to the Bluejays, 96-68, on Jan. 20 when Creighton set a BIG EAST record with 21 3-point baskets. The Bluejays, at 10-2 in the league, are 13-0 this season at the CenturyLink Center.

Following the Villanova-Creighton contest, St. John's hosts Georgetown in Madison Square Garden in a battle of two teams that are both 6-6 in the BIG EAST and on four-game winning streaks.